Third Street Brewhouse

Third Street Brewhouse is the craft beer arm of the very large Cold Spring Brewing Company, located in the Minnesota city of the same name.  Cold Spring has been known as one of the larger makers of energy drinks, sodas, and boutique/private label beers, as well as some contract brewing for smaller breweries.  Several years back they decided to start their own craft beer line, and have been steadily trucking away at at since.  I’ve personally felt that while the beers have not been bad, they’ve lacked something, and as a result they sort of fell off my list of breweries that I seek out.  I’ve had the feeling that much like the big breweries (AB, Coors, Etc.,) that the beer styles were dictated from on high to be approachable to the macro drinker, and have really not intrigued the true craft beer fans much.

Hop Lift IPA

Since the place has been off my radar for some time, I was pleasantly surprised to be sent a few cans of Third Street beers to review by the brewery.  OK, this is the time to try them again and take stock.  Will the beer “wow” me?  Will it renew my current thoughts and beliefs?

Here’s the low-down:

Hop Lift IPA is a 6.2% ABV, 60 IBU IPA that comes in a colorful 16 oz can.  The beer is named for the difficulty lifting 600 pounds of hops into every batch.  I don’t know what size brewhouse they have, but I’m assuming pretty darn big!  I poured this into an IPA style glass to catch more hop aroma.

 

 

Aroma: Up front I got tons of tropical fruit.  Mostly papaya and passionfruit with a hint of over-ripe mango.  The impression is of sweet, sugar, and fruit juice with a tad of caramel maltiness at the end.  I found none of the usual citrus that I associate with the majority of heavily hopped IPA’s.

Appearance: Light gold in color with sparkling clarity.  This pours with a huge fluffy white head that takes quite a long time to fade.  Fine and frothy.  Very pretty.

Flavor:  Not surprisingly this beer fairly bursts with tropical fruit flavors right off the bat.  Passionfruit and papaya smack one across the taste-buds with their unusual fruity character.  However, this beer is not as sweet tasting as expected from the aroma.  Bitterness is restrained and no astringency at all, but enough bittering to avoid being overly sweet and cloying.  Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied.

Overall:  The fruit character does taste like it is hop derived, and not like those from a certain San Diego brewery that has been putting out tons of fruited versions of their core beers.  This beer is not incredibly complex but then, what IPA really is?  I’m actually partial to the move toward fruitier IPAs like Surly’s Todd The Axeman and Fulton’s 300, so this flavor profile is right in my wheelhouse.  While I wouldn’t put Hop Lift up head to head with either of those beers, I was actually very happy with it and drank the entire 16 oz with relish.

Grade:  On a 0-5 scale I gave this a surprisingly high 4.  I would drink this again easily and would potentially buy a 4 pack.

 

So after all, I’ve found a keeper from this brewery I had pretty much ignored for a few years!  This is why we as beer geeks, beer judges, and beer bloggers need to keep trying new things and even return to things we think we don’t like from time to time.  Have you had this beer?  What did you think?